Unexpected turn in the negotiation of the working conditions of Ryanair cabin crew. After a long and stalled battle (of years) for a collective agreement of the USO and Sitcpla unions, endorsed in 2019 in a vote among the workers to negotiate their conditions, the multinational has closed a bilateral agreement with CCOO in “weeks”. The pact, which will only apply to workers who are members of the union, has several improvements, both salary and guarantee of a minimum schedule and direct hiring by the company. The multinational thus opts to negotiate with the CCOO, as opposed to USO and Sitcpla, with whom it has maintained a convulsive relationship marked by union demands and convictions of the multinational for many labor breaches.
The Labor Inspectorate forces Ryanair to stop charging its crew for water on flights
The agreement was announced this Tuesday by the general secretary of the FSC-CCOO Air sector, Jon Herrera González, and Ryanair's Director of People, Darrell Hughes, at the union's headquarters in Madrid. Both have branded the signature as "historic" and of great importance. "It's a good deal," said the trade unionist.
Among the keys to the pact, only for CCOO members, "immediate salary increases and salary restoration" stand out (with respect to substantial modifications of conditions challenged by the National High Court); the "upward salary equalization in all bases in Spain"; “more guaranteed fixed salary, instead of variable salary”; as well as the "consolidation of a minimum annual working day" of 600 hours and "permanent and direct employment contracts", instead of subcontracting modalities also challenged by the National High Court for incurring in the illegal transfer of workers after complaints from USO and Sitcpla.
Agreement behind the rest of the unions
The pact has been managed in a matter of "weeks", as explained by the head of human resources, Darrell Hughes. The negotiation has taken place outside and without the knowledge of the USO and Sitcpla unions, which have been trying to negotiate a collective agreement for the workforce for four years. Unsuccessfully, so far, stuck in the SIMA (labor mediation).
Ryanair has celebrated the agreement with CCOO for "demonstrating that a quick agreement can be reached when the parties so wish". The Irish multinational has always been very critical of USO and Sitcpla, which it criticizes for their inability to reach agreements in the face of what is happening with the pilots (in the Sepla union) and other unions at the international level.
In USO and Sitcpla, on the other hand, they denounce the continuous breach of minimum working conditions by the company, such as give crew members free water while they work, which end up moving to complaints. Lawsuits that agree with both unions in the vast majority of cases, with numerous convictions of the company in recent years for irregularities such as Fraudulent ERE applied in bad faith, null dismissals of trade unionistsviolation of the right to strike with threats, abusive ERTE...
From CCOO they have affirmed that they have not dealt with USO and Sitcpla in order to manage this bilateral agreement on working conditions. "I have enough with mine (union organization)", responded Jon Herrera González to explain the lack of contacts with the other unions.
CCOO is the majority union in the airline sector in Spain, which is why Herrera González has claimed his role in signing what he considers to be an "important and good agreement" for the cabin crew of the low-cost Irish multinational. The person in charge of CCOO has affirmed that from this agreement, the organization will initiate "a process of listening and assemblies" with Ryanair workers, to continue expanding labor rights and try to negotiate a collective agreement in the future.
USO believes that it "hinders" the negotiation
From USO, Lidia Arasanz explains that the union is "stunned" at the bilateral announcement with job improvements with CCOO, of which they had no idea. “These are negotiations totally parallel to the negotiation of the agreement of the unions that the workers of the company, USO and Sitcpla chose,” she points out.
Several of the improvements agreed upon between the CCOO and Ryanair were part of the open negotiation with these two union organisations. “We had already achieved the points of the agreement in tough negotiations, they were on the negotiating table of the agreement, the only thing they do is hinder the negotiations”, considers Arasanz, who believes that the CCOO wants to “put on a medal” after “years of work and effort” of these unions.
After the agreement, it is in doubt in whose hands the negotiation of the collective agreement of the cabin crew of the company will be left. Ryanair and CCOO have shown their intention to start talks on the matter. The multinational has already sent a communication to its cabin crew, to which elDiario.es has had access, in which it summarizes the keys to the agreement reached and in which it provides CCOO contacts to adhere to the improvements.